MACBE12TH, review by Veronica Richter

Over the course of the semester, I said goodbye to two of my good friends during our weekly meetings as they ran off to Alcalá for their theater class. I was first exposed to the The Performing Body, taught by program coordinator, Sergio Barreiro, at one of our workshops earlier in the semester where we learned about all of our options regarding program classes. After taking an acting class at Tufts, I figured I’d had my fill of theater classes and took art history instead. Thankfully, I got to enjoy the class through the stories and performances my friends had throughout the semester. From singing in languages they couldn’t understand in class to performing in the streets of Alcalá, my theater friends seemed to be having a blast in their class. But personally, I didn’t really see it or understand it ’till their final performance, MACBE12TH. It was split into two parts, the first a little warming up period in which our friends prepared physically and vocally for the show and the second part a brief interpretation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. As the show program put it, “Macbe12th, es un conjunto de improvisaciones y ejercicios cuyo objetivo es el de desarrollar el potencial creador del estudiante partiendo de las herramientas y las técnicas teatrales experimentadas en clase.”

Now, before going to the performance, I knew it was going to be wild, but what I didn’t expect was the commitment and intensity my friends brought to the show. The kids I’d been traveling, taking classes, and discovering Spain with became completely different people! And let me tell you, this wasn’t a typical performance, when I say they became different people, I don’t mean all of a sudden I saw my girl Hannah and thought of her as Lady Mcbeth, no. This show didn’t rely on dialogue to tell the story: it relied on physical actions, noises, and movement. It opened with a Spanish student laying on top of two of my friends as they all moved like a sort of monstrous unison, making snarling and beastly noises. It was insanity, but I loved seeing my friends so involved in their piece, especially since some of them are the last people I would have pegged as the theater types.The sense of happiness and accomplishment I saw in my friends’ faces as I went up to congratulate them was a beautiful sight! I asked one of them about my favorite part of the performance and he mentioned that “We changed that part four days ago.” … He changed that part? I later asked Sergio what he meant, and Sergio explained that for every scene, a group was given a piece of the original Macbeth and told to analyze their piece and come up with an interpretation based on the physical movement exercises they learned in class–everything I had seen was an original composition created by my friends!

One of my favorite things about their performance was that afterwards, everyone in the theater class: Spanish students and my program friends alike, went out together to celebrate the performance. Since the class forces everyone involved to interact and have a certain confianza with each other, my program friends left their class with a group of awesome, and close Spanish friends. I was kind of incredibly jealous. And though in their opening warm-up I recognized some stretches and exercises I’d done in my theater class at Tufts, I left wishing I’d been a part of the insanity that was MACBE12TH!

Since most of the performance is indescribable, I scoped out Sergio’s class video. Check out last semester’s performance of Oedipus Rex 13 starting at 2:11.

Veronica Richter, Spring 2012.

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